Something Feels Wrong

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A few days later, I have another consultation with the surgeon, Mr Hogan, who explains his take on what’s going on.

“This should be taken as a warning. I’ve never seen such a severe reaction to this type of operation and it shouldn’t have happened. Especially as you were fit and healthy before the operation. My view is that you’re overdoing it at work. You should try to step back and take things a bit easier.”

I hear what he says, but I have a mortgage to pay, a family to provide for and a job I marginally enjoy doing. There’s no other choice but to return to work, which I do after five weeks on sick leave. I attempt to work less, but the stress is high and workload unrelenting.

Over the next few months, I become aware that all is not well with my nose. I continue the check-ups with Mr Hogan and take medication for rhinitis, which makes me feel like I have a permanent head cold. I see a local doctor who thinks it might be hay fever, so I’m given antihistamine as well. There’s a sensation my left nostril is blocked but, no matter how hard I blow my nose, it will not clear. I have an appointment to see Mr Hogan, who does an endoscopy and finds a growth in my nasal cavity, which will have to be removed.

A few weeks later, I go to the Clementine Churchill Hospital for the operation. Gown on, cannula in, general anaesthetic, under the knife and am wheeled back to my room an hour and a half later. The view from my room is not so good this time as it overlooks a crappy, unkempt garden. I feel quite sick after the operation and both Bill the anaesthetist and Mr Hogan decide either the painkillers or type of anaesthetic cause the complications. After three days attached to an intravenous drip, I’m discharged from hospital, rest at home and am back to work within two weeks.

I have an appointment with Mr Hogan for a quick check up a few weeks later. I’m feeling much better and he says everything is healing nicely. He advises me to stay away from medication as far as possible. I’ve kept my system so clean in the past and prescription drugs seem to have a bad effect. But everything is going well and, health-wise, I couldn’t be better.

A month later, Michelle, the kids and I turn up for another follow-up appointment with Mr Hogan. The guys get out of the car and I lag behind. I’m nervous, but can’t work out why. The three of them are in front on the pavement and I hold on to the car, heart thumping and looking down. Breathing becomes difficult and I break into a sweat. I have no good reason to feel this way. It’s only a routine appointment, but something just feels wrong. After a short wait, we’re called to his consulting room. After the usual pleasantries, an endoscopy is underway. Then it’s all over. Mr Hogan explains there are no complications and I’m so relieved. I can’t understand why I was dreading this appointment.

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